MSU College of Law

Why MSU Law?

National Reach

MSU Law students are part of the global Spartan community of over half a million Michigan State graduates, and benefit from our worldwide name recognition. Mentioning MSU is a guaranteed conversation-starter in job interviews, and you’ll quickly discover that no matter where you plan to practice, the Spartan network is there for you. Our Career Services Office will start connecting you with our grads while you’re still in law school.

Wherever you call home, you’ll form lifelong relationships with a diverse group of fellow students from all over the country. Half of our students come from outside of Michigan. They take bar exams and start their legal careers in dozens of states every year. From New York to California to Ottawa, Spartan lawyers are making a difference in their communities. They’re in private practice, government agencies, legal tech jobs, nonprofits, and public defender and prosecutor offices.

“In today's legal market, a friend can make a world of difference – and there is no better friend to have than a fellow Spartan.”
James Vicchairelli, ’13 | Judge Advocate General, U.S. Air Force | Phoenix, AZ

Customized Experiences

Maybe you know exactly what kind of law you plan to practice, or maybe you don’t. Either way, our flexible curriculum will allow you to explore the law before you graduate.

You’ll be inspired by our passionate (and accomplished) faculty members. Their unique perspectives on the law will shape you as a professional – and as a person. Under their guidance, you’ll discover your passion for subjects that you never knew you were interested in.

We offer over 140 different elective courses every year, with instructional styles that range from classic Socratic lectures to intimate, discussion-driven seminars.

Our programs and focus areas provide course groupings, allowing you to build your expertise in a particular area of legal practice. Some of our most popular programs include exploring legal innovation in LegalRnD, preparing for the courtroom through the Trial Practice Institute, and building mediation skills with Alternative Dispute Resolution.

Want to build your cross-disciplinary expertise? Our students combine their JDs with graduate degrees at Michigan State’s many respected colleges. Our JD/MBA students get a jumpstart on their careers at Fortune 100 corporations, while other students pursue dual degrees in diverse subjects like social work, forestry, and industrial relations. Adding a master’s degree onto your JD is a great way to stand out to prospective employers in your field.

Exceptional hands-on learning

Employers look for graduates with experience applying their legal knowledge to real-world situations. Our experiential learning programs put students in situations where they apply theory and build skills, easing the transition from student to lawyer.

Students in our ten live-client clinics develop professional skills under the guidance of faculty mentors while helping resolve legal issues for underserved populations – children, immigrants, low-income renters, prisoners, food entrepreneurs, and more.

MSU Law’s externship program is a centerpiece of our experiential learning programs. Students travel to sites worldwide (over 103 different placements in summer 2015 alone!), where they work for government agencies, public prosecutor’s and defender’s offices, and nonprofits. They gain experience while working closely with practicing attorneys.

We also teach lawyering in dozens of skills-based courses. Our selective Trial Practice Institute puts students in the courtroom, where they spend two years rehearsing every stage of the trial process. The Alternative Dispute Resolution program teaches critical mediation and problem-solving techniques in a small group setting. No matter what you plan to do, we’ll prepare you to hit the ground running.

Opportunities to stand out

Spartan students lead student organizations at the national level, win high-profile competitions, and edit our array of student-run law journals. No matter where your career takes you, preparing top-notch written materials, being persuasive, thinking on your feet, and connecting with your audience are always assets, and we offer ample opportunities to build those skills. Competitions and journal memberships are also great resume-builders.

MSU Law is emerging as one of the nation’s top trial competition contenders. Our teams test their skills in trials, arbitration, mediation, and appellate advocacy – and they win at national and regional levels. Our 2015 team triumphed over 202 teams from 118 law schools to win first place in the nation’s largest moot court competition.

Our students also run four respected law journals, where they’re responsible for publishing scholarship by leading legal academics. Editors-in-chief of our journals often go on to coveted associate positions immediately following graduation. The journals host thinkers from around the world to discuss cutting-edge issues at annual symposia.

Big Ten environment

We’re famous for our friendly, collaborative culture. You’ll have a great time studying with your fellow Spartans. It’s easy to stay active during law school; thousands of students bike, jog, and walk to class every day, enjoying the changing seasons on one of the nation’s largest, greenest campuses.

Michigan State comes alive with tailgating for football season in the fall, when fans come together to cheer our team on to high-profile wins and championship appearances. Not a football fan? Don’t worry about it. March Madness is an annual tradition at Michigan State, and our powerhouse basketball team has gone to the NCAA Final Four seven times since 1999.

Athletics bring the MSU community together, but the academic climate here is just as exciting. Opportunities for in-depth study abound at one of the world’s leading research institutions. Law students take classes and pursue dual degrees through MSU’s prestigious graduate schools.